Church staff

Church staff

  • David R. Lyle

    Senior Pastor

    David R. Lyle

    I have been serving as the senior pastor at Grace since August, 2015. It is a great joy to partner with the people of Grace in the work of bringing in, building up, and sending out people for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am passionate about proclaiming Christ and his kingdom through Word and sacrament. It is a joy to help people see how the Spirit is moving in their lives. Prior to my arrival at Grace, I served congregations in Pawleys Island, S.C., and Appleton, Wis. I also spent four summers doing outdoor ministry at several Lutheran camps and have extensive experience in youth ministry. I hold degrees from The College of William & Mary and Luther Seminary. As the recipient of Luther’s Graduate Preaching Fellowship, I spent nine months as a Visiting Scholar with the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. My wife, Erika, and I reside in Oak Park with our three children, Greta, Anders, and Torsten. I am an avid sports fan, cheering on the Kansas City Royals, Green Bay Packers, and Wisconsin Badgers and, in my free time, enjoy reading, running, and playing guitar.

  • Troy Medlin

    Associate Pastor

    Troy Medlin

    I have been serving as associate pastor at Grace since mid-November of 2020. It is a deep joy to partner with the people of Grace as we walk by the Spirit and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. I am passionate about finding connections between worship and life in the world. I particularly love partnering with God’s people of all ages in evangelism, connection, formation, and reflection, rooted in the God who has come down to us in Jesus Christ. Prior to joining the Grace staff I served in a number of diverse contexts including as a student pastor at Urban Village Church in Chicago and as the vicar at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol HIll in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I hold degrees from Moody Bible Institute and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I live in Oak Park with my husband, Ole. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family, running, reading, and cheering wholeheartedly for the Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Blackhawks.

  • Michael D. Costello

    As the cantor at Grace, my primary job is to lead congregational singing. I do this by playing the organ, directing choirs, serving as an educator, coordinating music with other staff members, and working with others to lead the Bach Cantata Vespers. I grew up in a Lutheran church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I received my bachelor of arts in sacred music from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, and my master of divinity at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, where I also served on the adjunct faculty in music and liturgy. I am a Lutheran pastor, have served congregations in Pennsylvania and the Carolinas as a musician, and also served as a pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Columbia, South Carolina. I am married to Rebekah Weant Costello, also a Lutheran pastor. We have two children, Andrew and Lydia.

  • Julie Modrich

    Children's Ministry Coordinator

    Julie Modrich

    Children's Ministry Coordinator

    Ext. 229

    jmodrich@graceriverforest.org

    I have been blessed to serve as Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Grace since July, 2013. Working closely with Board of Discipleship, I coordinate programs and activities for Sunday School, family devotionals, festivals, Family Night and Vacation Bible School. I'm also the director of Grace School's Extended Day Care. I truly enjoy working with elementary-age children. My husband, Joe, and I came to Grace in the fall of 2000, and our four children, Stefan, Anna, Katarina and Peter, were baptized here in January, 2001. Before joining the Grace staff I was a volunteer teacher in Sunday School and Confirmation classes, and I currently serve on the Altar Guild. I graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in Parks and Recreation Administration. My professional career began at Little City Foundation in Palatine working in aquatics with special populations from children through seniors. I also have served as the Aquatics and Fitness Coordinators for the Niles and Des Plaines park districts. When our oldest son was born, I changed career direction and began teaching preschool and mom and tot classes.

  • Julie Hinz

    Coordinator of Discipleship and Fellowship

    Julie Hinz

    Coordinator of Discipleship and Fellowship

    Ext. 217

    jhinz@graceriverforest.org

    As a member of Grace for many years, I deeply appreciate the relationships and the depth of faith experienced here. I am a graduate of Concordia with a degree in Communication and Theatre and a Masters in Theatre from University of Illinois Chicago. With 20 years of office management experience both at Concordia and at various Episcopal churches, much of my work was building up and cultivating volunteers.

    My role is to find ways to connect you to each other and to the many ministries of Grace as well as how Grace can be more visible in our larger community. It is a joy to be here in ministry with all of you.

  • Joanna Schubkegel

    Parish Nurse

    Joanna Schubkegel

    I joined the Grace Lutheran staff in July 2022, serving as the Parish Nurse. I have been a life-long member of Grace  and attended Grace School all the way through my confirmation and graduation from eighth grade in 1994. I went on to attend Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I worked as a labor and delivery nurse in Chicago (Rush and Northwestern hospitals) and Connecticut (Stamford Hospital) before focusing on my young children during their early years. More recently, I have served the Grace community in many different roles and on various committees, including co-leading the Grace Parent Organization, serving as a Sunday School and VBS teacher, and serving on the Elementary Education Committee. I have a disarmingly handsome and charming husband, Josh, who I grew up with at both Grace Church and School. We now live in River Forest with our four wonderful children – Hannah, David, Naomi and Ellie – with the younger two still attending Grace School!  (Josh did some editing:) It is a joy to be able to combine my faith, nursing expertise, and love of supporting others to serve as Grace’s Parish Nurse.

     

  • Barb VanHeukelem

    Reception Desk

    Barb VanHeukelem

    I have been a member of the Grace community for over 20 years, as a school parent, church member, and volunteer. Working at the reception desk at Grace, I enjoy the opportunity to assist our staff, committees and many volunteers as they carry out the ministries of Grace Church and School. I serve on Altar Guild and also enjoy cooking for the Cornerstones group. I have a B.A. from Calvin College and was previously employed in mental health and social services. My husband, Bruce and I are the parents of three adult daughters who are graduates of Grace School and grandparents of six.

  • Eileen Maggio

    Reception Desk

    Eileen Maggio

    My husband, Joe, and I have been members of Grace Church since 1990, and both of our sons are Grace alumni. My youngest grandson is currently a Grace student. I have just retired from my position as school administrative assistant after 19 years.  I look forward to my next career working part time at the Grace reception desk.

  • Esther Armstrong

    Church Administrative Assistant

    Esther Armstrong

    Church Administrative Assistant

    Ext. 100

    earmstrong@graceriverforest.org

    I joined the front desk staff at Grace in August of 2020 and now serve as the Church Administrative Assistant.  It is a real joy to talk regularly with Grace members, prepare weekly worship materials, and work on lots of other projects that support the ministries of Grace Church. My husband, Neal, and I joined Grace in 2008 and our children, Rachel and Peter, attended Grace School from preschool through 8th grade and now attend OPRF High School.  Since joining Grace I have served the Grace community in many different roles and on various committees including Sunday School teacher, Junior Kindergarten aid, Children’s Religious Ed Committee, Grace Parent Organization, Board of Elementary Education, Council and Altar Guild.  I currently serve as a Stephen Minister.  I hold bachelor’s degrees in elementary education from Valparaiso University and in human nutrition and dietetics from University of Illinois at Chicago. I also enjoy working part-time as a dietitian and coordinator at a clinical research clinic. In my free time I enjoy reading, doing puzzles and spending time with my family and our two dogs, Bruno and Tobe.

  • Jim McClanahan

    Director of Administration and Finance

    Jim McClanahan

    Director of Administration and Finance

    Ext. 202

    jmcclanahan@graceriverforest.org

    I have been a member of Grace for over 20 years, during which I was active on Stewardship, Trustees, Endowment, and Board of Finance, and on Church Council as Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. I am excited about continuing to serve Grace in my role as Director of Administration and Finance. I am a Certified Public Accountant. I previously spent over 35 years in public accounting helping organizations with the accuracy of their financial records and reports, and consulting with them about the quality of their financial processes and their compliance with rules and regulations. I grew up in the Cleveland area and attended Miami University in Ohio. My wife, Beth Smoots, is also an active Grace member. We are the proud parents of two former Grace School students. Pierce works in Chicago for the international accounting firm of Ernst & Young and Annie works for WellRight, a Chicago-based employee wellness software organization. I have also served on the Foundation and Charitable Boards of Bethesda Rehab and Senior Care. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, gardening and reading.

  • José Meza

    Technology Manager

    José Meza

    Technology Manager

    I recently joined the Grace Lutheran staff as the Technology Manager. I have been in the information technology field for over 30 years. Previously I worked at a major law firm for 20 years and Chicago Board of Trade for 13 years. I am married and have a 22-year-old son who currently attends Northwestern University. In my off time I do enjoy baseball (White Sox), football (Bears), and Formula One (Red Bull). I look forward to working here at Grace.

  • Cecelia Thornton

    Business Office Assistant